This will be the first of what I hope becomes a recurring feature here on "The Voice Says…." blog. I want to give you guys a chance to get to know some of the players who are part of our sports teams here in Pittsburgh.
My first victim, errr, volunteer is a superstar in the Arena Football league and will suit up for our Pittsburgh Power in the 2012 season. His name is P.J. Berry, but you'll learn to love him as "Superman."
Last year in his rookie season in the Arena Football league he broke the single season record for total yards, and was named the JLS Ironman of the Year, First team All-AFL as a kick returner, and also earned a spot as one of five men on the All-Ironman team.
Q. What do you like most about the game of Arena Football?
A. I like the fans definitely. Also the fact I can do just about any end zone celebration! (laughs)
Q. What led to your decision to leave New Orleans and come to play for the Power?
A. I just felt like it was time to go. I'm thankful to New Orleans and hated to leave, but it was time for something new. I still love all the fans but sometimes change is good. Along with that, coming to Pittsburgh was a long time in the making. Coach Siegfried (Power head coach) wanted me to play for him for a while but the timing just wasn't right. Now that he's along with my good friend Coach Sting (Power defensive coordinator Derek Stingley) the timing is definitely good now.
Q. How many teams showed interest in you?
A. Every team – it's kinda funny. For the past three years I've had high numbers in the league and every offseason it feels like colleges are recruiting me out of high school again. It's funny and I'm grateful for it but at the same time it's also stressful.
Q. What are your thoughts of the Steel City so far?
A. It's cool but very different. Somewhat of a slower pace from what I'm used to. Steelers fans are crazy (laughs). But it's an all around cool city.
Q. What do you think of your coaches and fellow teammates so far?
A. The nickname started in college. People knew my name because it would get called out all the time during the game. They didn't know my face off the field. When the professor would call my name in class the students would say, "You're P.J. Berry? Man you're great! All I hear is your name at the games!" My teammates would say, "You do some of the most amazing things I've ever seen on the field. You're like Clark Kent off the field, but Superman on!" So the name stuck!
Q. Do you have any superstitions before playing a game?
A. I know I should because I used to play baseball. I guess I just have rituals more so than superstitions. I have to have 3 to 4 bottles of one liter smart water. I always have to take a hot shower before the game. Always have to take two laps around the field before I start stretching. And I don't put my Superman shirt on until after pregame warmups.
Q. What's the greatest moment of your football career?
A. I don't think I've had it yet. I've had some great individual moments. But I think in football it's a team game, and I haven't won a championship yet. Being an All-American in college, being first team AFL, breaking records, and being Ironman of the Year are all great feats, but it's not a championship.
Q. Who is the best player you've faced in the Arena Football league?
A. Haven't met him yet (laughs). But if I had to pick one, a good opponent would have to be Micheaux Robinson.
Q. If you found a magic lamp and got three wishes from a Genie, what would they be?
A. First – unlimited wishes. Second – world peace. For example there would be no such thing as racism. Third – I wish I could play football forever.
Q. Tell me something about yourself that would surprise a lot of people.
A. I read books often and I sing a lot, especially in the shower.
Q. Do you have any predictions for the 2012 season?
A. Win a championship and break the kickoff return TD record.
Q. What would you like to say to the fans of Pittsburgh?
A. I'm happy to be here, I appreciate it. My goal is to bring a championship to the city, I mean it is the City of Champions. I'm going to bring excitement to the game and the city. I'm a character, trust me you will love me. And I'm going to have fun. That's what I'm here to do, to put on a show.
A. Like I said earlier I think highly of coach Siegfried and always wanted to play for him. Coach Sting is a close friend and a mentor. He's the only coach I've ever played for. As far as my teammates, they're cool. A few are here and we're bonding everyday. We really need that chemistry.